ORLANDO — For the second time in three seasons, a look at their roster will show a number of major changes in hopes of finding the right fit for the club.
As in the winter of 2020, Chicago Fire FC has a new manager, many new players, and even a new crest heading into the 2022 season. The goal, however, remains the same: find a way back to the top. of Major League Soccer, where the club has not been present for a decade.
New manager Ezra Hendrickson’s path to doing so began on Tuesday as he led the club in their first training camp practice in Orlando. It’s part of a two-leg pre-season tour for the club, as they will also be spending part of their time in Austin, Texas.
They will also have four preseason games – one in Florida and three in Texas – with their first being Jan. 29 against Minnesota United FC in Orlando. The club will be there until February 3 and then begin training in Austin from February 6-19, leaving a week before their season opener on the road against Inter Miami CF on February 26.
Until then, the players and Hendrickson, who is leading an MLS club for the first time in his coaching career, will have a lot to ‘get to know you’. At least much of the roster will be new, and the club parted ways with a host of players at the end of the 2021 non-playoff season.
There are a few comebacks, including Jonathan Bornstein, whom Hendrickson singled out in his introductory press conference when discussing the need for leadership at the club. It’s a role the defender is taking on as he enters his fourth year with the club.
“I feel extremely blessed. At 37, still able to compete with those guys. This is exactly where I want to be,” Bornstein said. “I want to be the team guy who can lead by example, use my experience to help the younger guys build their careers and hopefully have good careers throughout their careers.
“I’m just happy to be here, I’m happy to play, and let’s see how long I can go on.”
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